On January 16, 2012 the Eurasia Partnership Foundation and CRRC presented a report entitled “Knowledge and Attitudes toward the European Union in Georgia” based on nationwide surveys conducted in Georgia by CRRC in 2009 and 2011. The 2009 survey was the first comprehensive study of Georgian attitudes towards the European Union. Koba Turmanidze, Country Director of CRRC-Georgia presented the report. Following the presentation, a panel of representatives from the EU Delegation, including Boris Iarochevitch and Oliver Reisner, the Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany--Ortwin Hennig, and Dr. Kakha Gogolashvili--Director of Center for EU Studies at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS) gave commentary on the data and its potential implications for the Georgia-EU relationship.
The data reveals that a majority of Georgians (80%) support Georgia joining the EU. As described in the report, support for Georgia’s membership in the EU has increased over time, but so too has support for EU membership for all other Eastern Partnership countries, as well as Turkey and Russia. While support for membership is high, knowledge of what exactly membership entails and the overall functions of the EU can be strengthened.
As noted by the panel, the findings of the report imply that Georgia is moving in the right direction for EU membership in several areas. Georgians’ support is compatible with the objectives of membership; however, there are many areas that need to be improved. Representatives from the EU delegation suggested increasing efforts to educate Georgians about collaborative efforts between Georgia and the EU. Overall, the report indicates a positive relationship with the EU and has generated enthusiasm among scholars and politicians alike.
Those interested in learning more about the study can access the datasets at CRRC’s Online Data Analysis (ODA) webpage. The report is also available in English and Georgian on CRRC’s website.